Welcome to the new blog!

Yeah, it kinda looks different, doesn’t it?

But it should function much the same. Which I know some of y’all will see as a good thing, others not so good.

This was sort of a quick, semi-emergency move, meant to deal with three factors:

  1. I needed to move to a new host, because my old host — Period Three, which had generously supported me for close to three years — was getting out of doing that sort of thing.
  2. Google had for months been giving an ominous-sounding warning, along the lines of “This site may be compromised” on the search result for this blog. When I looked it up, Google said it was something only my host could solve, and I eventually determined that it was essential to get on a newer version of WordPress, which should clean up the problem. That made the need to move more urgent.
  3. I had not had any working stats for several months (Webalizer had collapsed on me, for reasons I don’t fully understand), so I had no idea what my current traffic was — which is one reason I hadn’t sold more than one or two ads during that period. Which was not good.

Chip Oglesby of Creative Spark Columbia is my new host, and he’s been extremely helpful and responsive, basically getting all of the above and more besides done in a short time span. Chip is a former colleague at the newspaper, who among many other things shot this picture of me (or my shoulder, anyway) with Barack Obama.

Beyond the immediate challenge of dealing with the above three factors, Chip has also solved some knotty problems associated with my old blog, from when I was with the paper. I continue to link regularly to posts and comments from 2005-2009 (to me, one of the best things about the Web is that everything said in the past on a topic can be instantly available), but when you got there, you probably found that the links from that period were broken. Chip has fixed those thousands of links, something I had thought impossible. Now, through this blog, you experience a seamless continuity from May 2005 to today.

Now that the main move has been made, let me know if you identify any problems in your interactions with bradwarthen.com. And yes, I know there are things that readers have long wanted, such as the ability to edit their comments. I intend to try to address those in the near future. But I needed to make this big move first. Thanks for your patience.

63 thoughts on “Welcome to the new blog!

  1. Mark Stewart

    First priority, now, is to move your ads to a more prominent place.

    But sounds like change is good. Let progress roll.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Yes, I forgot to mention that. A very cool new feature.

    It reformats itself to display well on a mobile. I understand it also looks good on a tablet, but I haven’t checked that out yet.

  3. Mark Stewart

    Phone and iPad show the ads and comments at the bottom of the scroll; guess it’s the blogs of the current month. And no images…

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Images show up on my iPhone.

    But the way it’s configured now (and I’m still deciding whether I like this better), when you’re on the home page, no images other than the header show up on ANY device — PC, phone, what have you. The idea behind that is to provide short intros, and thereby get a lot more headlines onto the screen.

    You have to call up an individual post to see the pictures that go with it.

  5. Norm Ivey

    It looks good, this looks like a good post to ask this: How do blog participants get their pictures to show up on the blog?

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, OK, that’s something for the next phase. I just needed to get this up and running, to address the urgent issues (such as the “may be compromised” thing, which was kind of scary).

    And on the avatar thing… I don’t know HOW to do it from your end. Someone here recently explained it to others, and a number of new avatars cropped up, so it must have worked.

    Anyone? I’ll try to save the instructions this time, so I can handily answer the question myself in the future…

  7. Ralph Hightower

    I like the design and layout of the new blog. I haven’t tried the new on my Android phone yet.

    But what I miss, compared to the old version, is the blog title next to the previous and next navigation links.

  8. Brad Warthen Post author

    Yeah, I kind of miss that, too. I’m putting it on my list to restore that, when next I make some changes. Unless I can figure out how to do it in this present theme…

    I keep making little lists of questions to ask Chip, and then sometimes I figure them out before I call him. So maybe I’ll figure this one out on my own, too…

  9. Silence

    To get an avatar on the blog you need to go to http://www.gravatar.com then register with the email that you use here, and upload a picture. It will work globally with a whole bunch of different blog post comments or web forums. As for me, this is the only one I go to.

  10. Ralph Hightower

    PS: There’s something else that I miss. The links to your other favorite bloggers. I enjoy visiting Robert Ariail’s page to see what news he can put in one frame.

  11. tavis micklash

    Like the twitter feed. Twitter is a great medium where you can get unrestricted access to so many people.

    Look at how Cory Booker and Bakari Sellers use it. Cory uses it as a way to allow his constituents to pretty much ask him anything. Be it how to apply for public housing, reporting a stop light out or question what he had for dinner.

    Bakari will respond to just about any question that you reasonably put to him. It allows hacks like me to argue points and debate ideas that I never would have been able to just a few years ago.

    It kinda sucks for publishing articles though. Getting people to click that extra link is a huge barrier.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m glad you like the Twitter widget, Tavis. So do I. Unlike one I had a while back (and ditched), it seems to post pretty much in real time. The old one I had was about 12 hours behind, which made it useless.

      I urge y’all to check it out regularly, because I see my Twitter feed as an extension of the blog. And I post there more often.

      Tavis, I see links on Twitter as essential. I certainly click on them, if the Tweet interests me at all…

      1. tavis micklash

        “Tavis, I see links on Twitter as essential. I certainly click on them, if the Tweet interests me at all…”

        I would do a lot better if I pushed out stories at better time or tweeted it out several times in the same day. I hate being seen as a spammer though so typically only do it once.

        I’ve been trying to up my twitter presence lately. Night shift is not conducive to posting in prime time. Its the hazards of blogging and tweeting during shift work.

  12. Scout

    I like that you can reply to specific comments. I miss the little home tab that would take you back to the most recent post. Maybe it is still there somewhere and I just haven’t seen it. Did someone say you can track comments somehow? I’ve not noticed where.

  13. Steven Davis II

    Make the comment section wider… it looks like it’s set to around 50 characters wide for an initial post, threaded posts are even narrower.

  14. Burl Burlingame

    Yes the annoying Follow Brad Warrhen bug is now obscuring the comment screen wwindow hope I spelled things rite

  15. Brad Warthen Post author

    On which platforms (device, app) are y’all seeing this “Follow Brad” thing?

    I’ll ask Chip about it when he gets back from his Christmas break.

    As for the white space — we’ll look at that, too. There was actually a lot more in this theme originally, which Chip went in and reduced. I’ll see what else can be done. But I’m more immediately concerned about this pop-up thing that is obscuring the screen for y’all…

  16. scout

    I see it on my android phone. It pops up in the lower right hand corner whenever I scroll down the page. Not when I scroll up though. And it doesnt stay long. It says “follow brad warthen get every post deilivered to your inbox” or something similar. There is a tab to click that says ‘follow.’

    1. scout

      In my case, it doesnt really get in the way. in fact it only stays when i am actively scrolling so if i actually wanted to click follow i think it would be a challenge to get it to stay long enough to click.

  17. Burl Burlingame

    It’s a house ad for your Twitter feed (I think) that asks the reader to input an email address. Since I already follow you on Twitter, that won’t make it go away. I see it whilst scrolling upon an iPhone. It either goes away when one tries to enter an address, or won’t when one is up to some commenting. Most annoying.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Yes,,and it follows me down the thread, popping up again and again and blocks the post comment button!

      1. Steven Davis II

        Well, since you mention it… a page composed of 80% white space is a little bright. It’d be nice if something like words and pictures could fill all that wasted space.

  18. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, can anyone remember whether you were having trouble with the “Follow Brad” thing before the Twitter widget went up in the sidebar (it wasn’t there the first day or so).

    I’ll really hate it if that’s what caused the problem, because that’s the best Twitter widget I’ve ever had on a blog…

    1. tavis micklash

      Might want to Retweet if people reply as well. That way it shows on your twitter timeline as a conversation. Otherwise you just see one persons side of the story.

      Will Fits does it pretty good job of promoting himself on twitter. He always is good about retweeting the persons comments about them. Even if they are calling a political hit man.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      But I seem to recall that the annoying box was there from the start. It says “Get every new post delivered to your Inbox” which suggests to me that it is about the blog posts, not Tweets.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I don’t THINK that’s the case — I think it was up a couple of days before the widget was added.

        But then, I may be confused, because I was looking at the new site for a week before y’all saw it…

  19. Brad Warthen Post author

    Which is a shame, because I see it as an extension of the blog. I see the blog and Twitter as in many ways the same conversation. And I post a lot more often on Twitter.

    Normally, that is. My posting there, like my posting on the blog, fell off considerably during December, because of the flu, and catching up from the flu, etc. Watch for it to pick up as the new year begins.

    The main reason I wanted a good, working, real-time Twitter feed on the blog is so readers here could see the conversations going on out there between blog posts, and jump in whenever they liked. The last Twitter widget I had, the Tweets showed up about 12 hours late, which made it totally useless, so I ditched it.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Maybe it’s because you have a huge family and I have a tiny one. I dislike all the cross talk and hubbub of big family gatherings…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            To which the cure would seem to be, just start a new comment, rather than clicking on “reply,” once it gets too narrow.

            But I’ll check with Chip to see if anything can easily be done to keep the “reply” feature, but prevent the narrowing…

          2. Steven Davis II

            So why not go back to a template like what you had or say… what FitsNews has? As I’m typing now my comment is using about 1/16 of the page width with nothing in the other 15/16th.

  20. Doug Ross

    The narrow comments are fine on smaller devices like my Android phone or my Kindle… but on a laptop or desktop it’s annoying to see only 1/4 of the available width used for comments. Even new comments are way too narrow.

  21. Doug Ross

    As for Twitter, no thanks. My twitter feed is limited to Gamecock sports for baseball and football updates when a radio or TV feed is not available. Otherwise, I prefer going to blogs and using Facebook. Easier to filter the wheat from the chaff. #andIhatehashtagsandtheepeoplewhooverusethem

  22. Brad Warthen Post author

    Folks, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask y’all to try to get used to the narrow comments. I just made a major move here, moving to a new host and new theme, and basically I’d have to start over with yet another theme to do something about the width of the comments.

    At some point, I might do that, but I’m not in position to do so right now. In the meantime, Chip, who is very responsive and helpful, will iron out any bugs he can. The comment width thing, however, seems to be pretty hardwired into this template.

    Personally, I’m very pleased with the new platform, particularly the responsive design, which I think is awesome. Unfortunately, I think the narrowness of the comments may be related to that excellent feature, which I’ve long wanted to have on the blog.

    Also, I think the “reply” feature on comments is cool, but again there’s a trade-off — if you use it, the comments get narrower.

    As for anyone who wants the old format back — that’s not in the cards. I had profound problems with that platform, from Google telling me the site may be compromised to a lack of any kind of analytics after Webalizer crashed on me. This blog badly needed a heart transplant, and it got one. Can’t go back to the old heart.

    1. Steven Davis II

      Isn’t it wonderful when you go from a proven system that works to one that sucks… just because. Didn’t you look at other blog formats before making the change? This can’t have been the best one out there.

  23. tavis micklash

    Know its been said but I rally like the rotating banners.

    The Nikki Haley / Sarah Palin picture just flashed up for me.

    I find uncompromising politics just bleh. When attached to a great set of legs and a business suit its slightly less so.

    I guess that makes me a pig.

  24. Mark Stewart

    I still get a certificate warning for the new site when on Verizon Wireless. However, it didn’t pop up for the first couple of weeks after the site change-over. Maybe someone flagged you as a bad apple?

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